Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)
Summary of Current FAA UAS Rules
- Employees flying UAS as part of their ISU employment: These flight operations continue to fall under Part 107 rules.
- Students or educators flying UAS for work or school work: The FAA’s User Identification Tool now places these flight operations under Part 107 rules. This is a change from the FAA’s past practice of exempting certain educational UAS flights from Part 107 rules. Part 107 requires the UAS operator to either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating.
- UAS pilots flying only for fun or recreation: These flight operations fall under Section 349 Rules on the Exception for Limited Recreational Operations of Unmanned Aircraft. This is a new rule that describes how, when, and where recreational UAS can fly. Significant changes for recreational UAS include:
- Recreational flyers must now adhere to the statutory conditions to operate under the Section 349 rules on the Exception for Limited Recreational Operation of UAS or fly under Part 107 rules on Small UAS.
- Recreational flyers currently have two options to fly in controlled airspace:
- Fly under Part 107 rules. UAS pilots can fly under Part 107 rules for any reason, including for work or business, for school or schoolwork, fun in their backyard, to teach, or for public safety missions. Part 107 requires the UAS pilot to either hold a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating or be under the direct supervision of a person who holds a remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating.
- Fly at FAA approved fixed sites (commonly referred to as flying fields) established by an agreement with the FAA, as listed at http://udds-faa.opendata.arcgis.com/. The Recreational Flyer Fixed Sites are represented by blue dots on the Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) facility map (UASFM). Operations at the FAA approved Recreational Flyer Fixed Sites are authorized up to the altitudes indicated on the UASFM.
- Until further notice from the FAA, air traffic control facilities will no longer accept requests to operate recreational UAS in controlled airspace and recreational flyers should not contact local air traffic facilities for airspace authorizations.
- Recreational flyers may continue to fly in uncontrolled airspace provided they meet the statutory conditions described in the Federal Register notice.
Future developments affecting recreational UAS flyers:
- By the end of 2019, recreational flyers should be able to obtain authorization from the FAA to fly in controlled airspace through the online system LAANC (Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability), which is currently available only to Part 107 certified remote pilots.
- Once a new aeronautical and safety test is developed and made available, recreational flyers will be required to pass the test and carry proof of test passage (or fly under Part 107 rules).
- The FAA will develop a process for recognizing community based UAS organizations and their safety guidelines for recreational flyers.
All outdoor UAS flights on ISU property require pre-approval from FP&M. The ISU campus is located within Ames Class E controlled airspace. Until the FAA expands the LAANC system to include recreational UAS, FP&M can issue approvals to fly UAS from the ISU campus only to individuals possessing a Part 107 remote pilot airman certificate with small UAS rating.
Updates and additional information about these changes can be found on the following web sites: